Biden’s first 10 days have been a mess dominated by vaccine mysteries. Biden’s team is still trying to locate upwards of 20 million vaccine doses that have been sent to states — a mystery that has hampered plans to speed up the national vaccination effort. As pressure mounts from the public, the Biden team starts blaming Trump.
Democrats still talking about Trump
Joe Biden promised he’d bring in a competent, tested team to run the pandemic response, set ambitious vaccination targets and impose strict public health guidelines.
His team arrived at the White House with a 200-page response plan ready to roll out. But instead, they have spent much of the last week trying to wrap their hands around the mushrooming crisis — a process officials acknowledge has been humbling, and triggered a concerted effort to temper expectations about how quickly they might get the nation back to normal. Their knee-jerk reaction was to blame the mess they inherited from Trump.
After a week on the job, Biden’s team is still trying to locate upwards of 20 million vaccine doses that have been sent to states — a mystery that has hampered plans to speed up the national vaccination effort. They’re searching for new ways to boost production of a vaccine stockpile that they’ve discovered is mostly empty. And they’re nervously eyeing a series of new Covid-19 strains that threaten to derail the response.
“It’s the Mike Tyson quote: ‘Everybody’s got a plan until they get punched in the mouth,’” said one person with knowledge of the vaccine effort who’s not authorized to discuss the work. “They are planning. They are competent. It’s just the weight of everything when you sit down in that chair. It’s heavy.”
Among other EOs the Biden team rushed through, was new rules on abortions abroad. Pro-life activist Mallory Quigley reacts to the president's orders: @mallorytq @SchmittNYC https://t.co/VlT7z8drtO pic.twitter.com/K0wc0SlEdY
— Newsmax (@newsmax) January 31, 2021
Joe Biden asleep at the wheel
Biden officials leading the coronavirus response launched a series of regular briefings this week to keep the public informed on the state of the pandemic and government efforts to contain it and rush vaccines out to as many Americans as possible.
But the briefings were short on details. And behind the scenes, officials say, the team was still struggling to get a handle on basic information, liaise with the career government workers who have been running the response and build out a long-term strategy for bringing — and then keeping — the virus under control.
“One of the virtues of a well-run transition is that by the time you take the reins, you have developed some rapport and trust with the career people you’re working with,” the person familiar with the administration’s work said. The “courtship has been unnaturally short,” the person added.
“Nobody had a complete picture,” said Julie Morita, a member of the Biden transition team and executive vice president at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “The plans that were being made were being made with the assumption that more information would be available and be revealed once they got into the White House.”